Castor’s town council received a pair of delegations to open its June 12 council meeting.
The first of the two delegations was a town resident making an in-person appeal of a penalty imposed on his missed 2021 residential taxes.
According to the resident, he and his spouse believed that the taxes had been paid; they were shocked when they received the 2022 tax bill which showed an outstanding amount for 2021, which included a pair of 15 per cent penalties.
The resident was also disturbed at the fact that no written or verbal notice had been provided by the town that the taxes had been missed and that both penalties had been applied without a word from the town.
“We have no issue at all with the late payment,” said the resident.
“We recognize we were late. What we do take issue with is another 15 per cent put on. If you had called, we would have been down here the same day with a cheque and paid our taxes.”
The resident notes, in his letter to council which was submitted as part of the agenda package, that when he asked about the notice or lack thereof, he was notified that the town’s policy is to put reminders of the tax deadlines on Facebook and in the monthly newsletter, and not send individual notices.
“Why would we pay attention to a deadline when we didn’t realize we were in arrears?” the resident asked.
The resident noted that according to research he did, the town is legally correct, as per the Municipal Government Act the municipality is not required to give notice.
“I feel what you are legally required to do and what you should do might not be the same,” said the resident, noting that other municipalities in the region, including Paintearth County, do issue notices to residents before imposing the penalties.
“I’m not really looking for special treatment here, I think the policy, in general, could be looked at,” said the resident, before departing.
Council will have a couple of weeks to contemplate the resident’s presentation before the matter is brought back at the next council meeting.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Donna Rowland did confirm that the town’s policy is to send tax notices in May or June, then if they remain unpaid a 15 per cent penalty is applied on Aug. 1. If the taxes remain unpaid, a second penalty of another 15 per cent is added on Jan. 1 of the following year.
Rowland also confirmed that it is currently the town’s policy that the only tax notice sent out is the first one; there are no subsequent follow-up notifications until the tax notice is sent the following year.
The Coronation RCMP detachment’s top cop, Sgt. John Pike, was the second delegation of the evening.
Pike attended the meeting to give an update on crime in the region and the activities of his members.
According to Pike, overall crime numbers in the region are dropping while the case closure rate has been increasing.
“Property crimes have decreased by 90 files year-over-year,” said Pike. “That’s attributed to our members being out more.”
One area that has seen an increase is traffic-related offences. In Castor alone, the Coronation RCMP officers have issued 105 tickets or warnings since January.
Pike noted that a lot of the tickets and warnings issued in the community were for people failing to stop at stop signs.
Another area that has seen an increase is fraud-crime.
“Unfortunately, they take a lot of time,” said Pike.
Pike says the frauds can be phone calls or emails of people demanding money, and despite the awareness campaigns some people still fall for them.
“If it sounds too good, it probably is,” Pike said. “The scams are pretty convincing … for a small detachment it’s a lot of work.”
Finally, Pike encouraged council and residents to continue calling in crime in the community.
“When people do report, we know to change our hours, and change our patrols,” said Pike.
The Coronation detachment 24-hour non-emergency complaint is 403-578-3622.